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Jack, 23, poet

Height: 5ft 9in

Weight: 10st 2lb

What made you want to do this shoot?

I think body image is a really big issue in the gay community. I often think about a comment I had once from a well-meaning (and handsome) gay friend, who said: “Your face is nice. If you could just work on the body…” That stayed with me! He’d meant to inspire me to work out more, but it said a lot to me about how much we judge others’ appearances, even if we don’t mean to. We need to see more images of real and varied bodies in the media to adjust our idea of what’s “average”.

Who’s your ideal man and why?

Possibly Ricky Martin. Tall, dark and handsome — and I do like a good beard. Plus, he’s good with kids.

Are you happy with how you look and would you change anything about your appearance?

Yeah, I’d say I’m happy. I guess it’s normal to have “what if” thoughts of how I might I look if I went to the gym more, or had my teeth whitened, for example. But there’s nothing much I’d change.

Do you think apps such as Grindr and Tinder are responsible for the emphasis on physical appearance?

I don’t think they’re responsible for it, but they’ve played a part in the quick judgments we might make of others. It’s difficult not to make appearance a key part of deciding who you want to chat with or meet online when body photos without even a face are so often the first impression offered. I guess it helps to challenge our expectations; to say hello to someone who’s not your immediate “type”. They might be different and a more interesting person.

You can read more from Real Bodies in Attitude’s Summer issue. Buy in print printsubscribe or download.

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